Calendar of Events

Oct 20, 2014 to Oct 23, 2014 | Orlando, FL
Oct 27, 2014 to Oct 31, 2014 | Clearwater Beach, FL
Nov 05, 2014 to Nov 06, 2014 | Las Vegas, Nevada

Keywords

Public Utilities Reports

PUR Guide 2012 Fully Updated Version

Available NOW!
PUR Guide

This comprehensive self-study certification course is designed to teach the novice or pro everything they need to understand and succeed in every phase of the public utilities business.

Order Now

General Electric

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

My electric company, Potomac Electric Power Co., has announced a joint venture with RCN Corp. of Princeton, N.J., to offer local and long-distance telephone service to callers in Washington, D.C., and nearby areas, plus cable television and high-speed connections to the Internet. With stockholder money, PEPCO would compete head-on against Bell Atlantic, which won approval from the Federal Communications Commission on Aug. 14 for its $25-billion merger with NYNEX.

Reporting the story, The Washington Post quoted PEPCO President John M.

Far From Closure: No Consensus Yet on Accounting Proposal for Decommissioning

John S. Ferguson

In aiming to make financial statements more meaningful, will FASB instead make them indecipherable?

By mid-summer, a total of 123 companies had cranked out some 574 pages of comments, detailing exactly what they thought of the accounting rules proposed by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to cover the closure or removal of certain long-lived assets. %n1%n The FASB's"Exposure Draft," issued early last year, had requested comments on eight issues. The respondents answered as requested, but also raised a host of new questions.

Ratepayers Win Compensation as Oregon OKs Enron/PG&E Merger

Phillip S. Cross

Regulated customers of Portland General Electric Co. will receive compensation both for lost profits and for future, anticipated efficiencies under the final decision issued by the Oregon Public Utility Commission that approved the merger between PGE and Enron Corp.

Under the approved merger plan, Enron will absorb the utility's corporate parent, Portland General Corp.

As a result of negotiations between the merging companies and the commission's staff, Enron has agreed to guarantee "monetary compensation and benefits" to Oregon ratepayers in the amount of $141 million.

People

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners has elected Susan F. Clark, commissioner of the Florida Public Service Commission, as its representative on the North American Electric Reliability Council. Clark has served as Florida's commissioner since 1991. Commissioner of the North Carolina Utilities Commission, Allyson K. Duncan, also was elected to serve as a NARUC representative. Duncan will represent NARUC on the advisory council to the board of directors of EPRI.

Tony A. Prophet, former new business development v.p.

FERC Easily Approves Second Convergence Combo

Lori A. Burkhart

Marking the second time it had approved a union between an electric utility and a natural gas pipeline company since issuance of its December 1996 merger policy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved the merger of Duke Power Co. with PanEnergy Corp.

In its 21-page order issued May 28, the FERC found the merger consistent with the public interest based on an examination of the effect it would have on rates, competition and regulation (Docket No. EC97-13-000).

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

"People are starting to talk about ISOs on the gas side." So says Jerry Pfeffer, lay advisor on energy industries for Skadden, Arps, Meagher & Flom, the New York law firm well known for its work in mergers and acquisitions.

Pfeffer's comment alludes to events now unfolding in Southern California, that fount of fashion, where each round of "deregulation" only doubles the ante in billable hours. This time it's natural gas pipelines. Do they have market power too?

"It Would Not Surprise Me"

Southern California Edison Co. has now alleged that Southern California Gas Co.

Competitive Efficiency: A Ranking of U.S. Electric Utilities

Hossein Haeri, M. Sami Khawaja, and Matei Perussi

Do mergers and "critical mass" really make a difference? The answer, it seems, is yes.

To become more competitive, U.S. electric utilities have embarked on a quest in recent years to improve operational efficiency and factor productivity. The question is: Are utilities making progress? And, which companies have gained a competitive edge? Which have not?

Industry analysts have long argued that given the structure of the markets they serve and their cost-based, rate-setting procedures, electric utilities tend toward monopolistic behavior.

Palm Springs Develops Utility

Lori A. Burkhart

The Palm Springs City Council has approved a contract with Portland General Corp., the parent company of Portland General Electric, which specifies the roles and responsibilities of both parties as the city establishes a new utility, "City of Palm Springs Energy Services."

Last December, Palm Springs had selected Portland General to become the city's new energy services partner to help it develop a municipal utility to compete in a deregulated marketplace.

Electric Utility Fails in Bid for Antitrust Immunity

Phillip S. Cross

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Portland General Electric Co., could not invoke "state action immunity" as protection against antitrust charges in a case involving the division of the Portland, Ore., market into exclusive service territories.

Columbia Steel Casting Co., a large industrial consumer of electric power in the city, had sued Portland General and another local utility, Pacific Power & Light Co., charging both companies with dividing the city's electric users among them in violation of federal antitrust laws.

Oregon PUC Staff Wants M&A Conditions

Lori A. Burkhart

The Oregon Public Utilities Commission staff has recommended the proposed merger of Portland General Electric Co. and Enron Corp. be approved with conditions, and has asked for a customer-rate reduction of $47.4 million for four years.

Subsequently, an $11.2-million rate-reduction component would remain part of electric rates until PGE's next rate proceeding. The staff would include a feature to true up rate-reduction amounts if certain future revenues exceed expectations.

Pages